Tax cut veto sets up override fight

Republicans say they will try next week to override Gov. Jay Nixon's Thursday veto of a tax cut bill.

Republicans say they will try to override Gov. Jay Nixon's Thursday afternoon veto of a GOP-backed tax cut.

The Democratic governor announced the veto at an event in St. Louis. The announcement follows weeks of threats from both sides.

"Best-case scenario, Senate Bill 509 takes a $620 million bite out of our budget," Nixon told the crowd. "Worst-case scenario, it blows it up completely, creating a fiscal catastrophe unlike anything we've ever seen."

Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 509 sets up an override fight with two weeks left in the legislative session. Bill sponsor Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, said he was not surprised by Nixon's actions.

"I think he makes a lot of false assumptions and he draws conclusions based on those assumptions," he said.

The bill would reduce the state's top income tax bracket from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over five years and phase in a 25 percent business income deduction over the same period. The bill's provisions would not kick in until 2017, and then only if state revenues grow by an extra $150 million. Nixon attacked the bill as a threat to education funding even before it reached his desk. Last week, he stepped up his attacks after he claimed his office had discovered a subsection that would eliminate the income tax for anyone making more than $9,000 a year, a move he said would cost the state $4.8 billion.

"In no scenario under this bill do our schools get the support they need," Nixon said Thursday.

Republicans say he is misinterpreting the bill's language and insist the bill would not pose a threat to education funding.

This bill protects education with a two year delay that allows us to fully fund education, then it phases it in over a five-year phase-in with a $150 million trigger," Kraus said.

Since the tax cut bill originated in the Senate, that chamber will be the first to attempt an override of Gov. Nixon's veto. Senate President Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, told reporters to expect an override vote early next week. Republicans have enough votes to override a veto in that chamber if every Republican votes in favor of the bill, as they did during its first trip through the Senate. In the House, Republicans would need one Democrat to vote in favor of the bill in order to override the governor. Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, was the only House Democrat to vote in favor of the bill. He has not publicly said what he might do in the event of an override vote.